The Fall of Rome LIGHT IN THE DARK AGES. A. The Fall of Rome. The Fall of Rome THE COLLAPSE OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. Church History - Mr.

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1 Amidst the collapse of the Roman Empire, only one institution held together and offered order, stability, and hope: the Church. LIGHT IN THE DARK AGES A. The Fall of Rome THE COLLAPSE OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE AD- Alaric, king of the Visigoths, sacked Rome; 2. This began the spiraling down of the imperial government, resulting finally in the revolt and overthrow of the Western emperor by Odoacer in 476. The Fall of Rome 3. With the fall of the Empire, the barbarians introduce a violent character into the culture, which further harmed the moral situation that existed. 4. Very primitive understandings of justice and superstition developed, with human sacrifice being found among some of the barbarian tribes. The Fall of Rome 5. Learning and culture quickly declined. a) People can not read (especially scriptures) b) Church takes on role of chief educator. 1

2 6. Economically: a) roads became unsafe crime increased b) cities and towns began to shrink The Fall of Rome c) the former empire turned into a rural society. The Fall of Rome 7. Many Christians participated in pagan activities. 8. The Church had to adapt herself to the changes: a) the Church s organization, rule, and territorial structure was modeled after the old empire; this allowed some semblance of order amidst the chaos. 9. The Church also recognized through this crisis that she was not wedded to the Roman Empire and had to adapt to this cultural shift. B. The Barbarian Invasions 1. The Church found itself called to spread the Gospel to new cultures which were very different from the previous Roman civilization. The Barbarian Invasions 2. The Germanic Tribesa) Many settled along the Roman Empire s border. b) Many became mercenary soldiers. The Barbarian Invasions 3. The Huns a) A powerful nomadic people of unknown ethnic origins, who swept west from Northern China into Europe by the 4th century. b) The reports of the time paint them as a ferocious group who devastated much of the Empire. The Barbarian Invasions c) Attila the Hun i. The Scourge of God ii. In 452 he moved toward southern Italy and Rome where Pope St. Leo I (the Great) went to meet him; amazingly, Attila, after meeting Leo, called off the invasion of Rome and died shortly after. 2

3 The Barbarian Invasions 4. Christian attitude toward the Invasions: a) The Church starts to see Christianity as truly universal. b) Many Christians interpret the fall of the Empire as a sign of the end of the world; others see it as a punishment for the sins of paganism as well as the sins of bad Christians. THE RISE OF MONASTICISM Introduction Introduction All clergy fit into 2 categories Secular Clergy Began with Christ calling 12 apostles Found "in the world", cities/urban Promise obedience to their bishop Around 1200 A.D. promise celibacy Do not take vow of poverty but receive a stipend Secular clergy are diocesan priests, most bishops, cardinals, popes Regular Clergy regularum - a rule, constitution start around 250 A.D. started "outside, in secluded parts" all take 3 vows - poverty, chastity, obedience to the rule; many have a 4th vow unique to the order more regular clergy than secular because includes priests, brothers, and sisters Introduction Regular Clergy are broken up into 4 main categories 250 AD Hermits (eremitic) Monks (cenobitic) 1200 AD 1500 AD Service 1600 AD 1. Monasticism a) a way of life characterized by prayer and self-denial lived in seclusion from the world and under a fixed rule with professed vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience (evangelical counsels) 3

4 A. 2. Monasticism sprung from the desire of men and women to flee the moral deterioration of the cities. 3. They wanted to pursue a heroic imitation of Jesus Christ, entering into a demanding life of asceticism (selfdiscipline) 4. Vow a) a solemn promise made voluntarily by a person of reason, to practice a virtue or perform some specific good deed in order to accomplish a future good. 5. Two types: a) eremitical or hermit life - individuals withdrawing into loosely organized groups to live an isolated ascetical life b) Cenobitical - (common life) this monastic life is lived within a community. 6. St. Paul of Thebes (the first hermit) & St. Anthony of Egypt. a) they withdrew into desert areas in order to lead a contemplative life. b) Fathers of Monasticism 7. St. Pachomius a) founded cenobitical monasticism in Egypt b) starting off as a hermit & gradually attracting followers to his way of life c) his early rule would influence many others B. Monasticism &the Rise of a new 1. The monasteries would prove vital for the spread of Christianity, the preservation of Greco-Roman writings, and the formation of a new Christian culture. 4

5 2. Monasteries would serve a triple purpose: a) source of great spiritual strength b) seminaries (training schools) for priests and bishops c) centers of evangelization of the barbarian tribes through various forms of education Monasticism &the Rise of a new Monasticism &the Rise of a new 3. The monasteries had three major effects on Europe: a) the recovery & evangelization of rural society Monasticism &the Rise of a new b) the chief centers of learning, each establishing a scriptorium for the copying of ancient manuscripts of Greek and Roman learning, as well as the Scriptures c) taught the surrounding areas how to read and write as well as the language of Latin. Monasticism &the Rise of a new d) The monasteries had the effect of civilizing the Germanic peoples, infusing a spiritual meaning into the act of work itself. C. : The Patriarch of Western Monasticism 1. Life: a) Born at Nursia, Italy around 480 AD, went to study law in Rome, but was so disgusted with the moral decay of the city he went to live as a hermit b) Gradually, his fame for holiness spread and many men came to join him. c) He eventually founded thirteen monasteries including Monte Cassino, where he is buried. 2. The Rule of : a) Ora Et Labora (Prayer and Work) i. Written at Monte Cassino, all monastic communities of the West adopted his Rule throughout the Medieval period. ii. Praised for its spirit of peace and love, as well as moderation, in comparison to the austerity of Egyptian monasticism. 5

6 iii. The monks live in community, sharing all things, and under the leadership of an abbot (abba=father), who holds all power to govern the monastery. iv. The monastery exists as a family and self-sustaining community. e) The chief aim of the monk or nun according to the Rule is to give praise and glorify God; this is done in common through the opus Dei (work of God) or laus Dei (praise of God), where the monks come together eight times a day not including Mass to chant the psalms in praise of God. f) Lectio Divina : where the monk slowly reads and meditates on Scripture. g) Also important to the Rule of is that the monks should live off the labor of their own hands. i. work becomes a form of prayer and penance offered for the praise and glory of God. Laughter Guard your lips from harmful or deceptive speech and speak no foolish chatter, nothing just to provoke laughter; do not love immoderate or boisterous laughter. Obedience Obey the orders of the abbot unreservedly, even if his own conduct which God forbid- be at odds with what he says. Remember the teaching of the Lord; Do what they say, not what they do (Matt 23:3) Prayer On hearing the signal for an hour of the divine office, the monk will immediately set aside what he has in hand and go with utmost speed, yet with gravity and without giving occasion for frivolity. Indeed, nothing is to be preferred to the Work of God. 6

7 Respect Wherever brothers meet, the junior asks his senior for a blessing. When an older monks comes by, the younger rises and offers him a seat, and does not presume to sit down unless the older bids him. In this way, they do what the words of Scripture say, They should each try to be the first to show respect to the other. (Rom 12:10) Temperance We read that monks should not drink wine at all, but since the monks of our day cannot be convinced of this, let us at least agree to drink moderately, and not to the point of excess, for, wine makes even the wise men go astray (Sir 19:12) Work Idleness is the enemy of the soul. Therefore, the brothers should have specified periods for manual labor as well as prayerful reading. h) St. Scholastica i. the sister of Benedict, who founded a monastery of nuns who followed the Rule of St. Benedict. D. St. Gregory I (the Great) 1. Born in 540 AD to a Senator a) rose to the top of the Roman administration, becoming prefect of police and judge of criminal cases. 2. After his father s death he sold all his possessions, founded 7 monasteries and became a monk himself. 3. He became a main advisor to the pope a) appointed nuncio (the pope s ambassador) to the court in Constantinople, despite Gregory s desire to remain an ordinary monk. St. Gregory I (the Great) 4. Gregory eventually returned to Rome and became a close advisor to Pope Pelagius, until he dies in With the pope s death, the Roman populace unanimously calls for Gregory to be pope. 6. Gregory flees the city but eventually gives in to what he sees as God s will. 7

8 St. Gregory I (the Great) 7. Papacy will take on an increasingly important position in regard to temporal matters, along with spiritual matters: WHY? a) No political leadership in Rome b) Eastern Emperor s indifference 8. Gregory I will have to face difficulties facing Rome a) violent Lombard tribes pillaging towns b) city populations decreasing, c) dangerous roads, famines, plagues, and floods. St. Gregory I (the Great) 9. Gregory will write many treatises and commentaries on Sacred Scripture along with over 800 letters 10. he will also establish and have written down (codify) the music of the Church, called Gregorian Chant. St. Gregory I (the Great) 10. Gregory will refuse to recognize the title Ecumenical Patriarch which the Patriarch of Constantinople will adopt after the First Council of Constantinople, a) sees it as a way to usurp the authority of the pope. 11. Gregory will send out many missionary groups to evangelize foreign peoples like the Saxons and the Lombards. 12. The first pope to use the title Servi Servorum Dei Servant of the servants of God. 8

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